By Alaba-Olusola Oke
The Ondo Government says it has intensified measures to rid the state of rats in order to combat Lassa fever and premature deaths associated with the scourge
Dr Stephen Fagbemi, the state Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health, said this on Thursday in Akure while briefing newsmen on government’s effort at controlling the Lassa fever scourge.
Fagbemi said the campaign, which was flagged-off in 2020 in Owo Local Government Area, would now be held in the remaining three most affected council areas of Akure South, Ondo West and Akoko South West of the state.
According to Fagbemi, the campaign on eradication of rats is designed to complement government’s initial efforts which is focused on managing Lassa fever patients and embarking on aggressive sensitisation of the people on the disease.
The director, who described Lassa fever as a deadly disease like Ebola if not quickly contained and treated.
According to him, over the years, the state government had made several efforts to combat the disease.
He said that the measures to rid the state of rats and the scourge would include Lassa Fever management and feedback mechanisms, distribution of free raticides to residents and aggressive sensitisation and awareness creation.
Fagbemi said the programme was aimed at raising the consciousness of the people that rats are not good in their surroundings as they pose dangers to health.
“One of the perennial problems we have in Nigeria is Lassa fever.
”It was first discovered in Nigeria in Lassa, a town in Borno State and it is now common in some states and unfortunately Ondo State is one of the states where it is commonly occurring.
”Ondo, Edo, and Ebonyi states are the most affected.
“The disease is transmitted by a virus that is carried around by a special breed of rat that has many breasts.
”It lives in it and reproduces in it. If the feaces or urine of the rat contaminates our food item, then the person becomes infected, “Fagbemi said. (NAN)